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Friday, July 4, 2014

Drying Your Own Basil + Friday Show and Tell

Right now I’m visiting my parents in New Jersey. My brother and his wife had TONS of fresh basil from their garden, so they decided to try drying it in my mom’s old food dehydrator.

drying basil with a food dehydrator by @janemaynard

Drying the basil was easy and very hands off, BUT here are a few things we learned:

  • A LOT of fresh basil makes just a LITTLE dried basil. The basil you see in the photos is all the dried basil we got from 8 large trays of fresh basil.
  • It takes a looooooong time for the basil to get completely dry. We followed the instructions and cooked the basil at 105ºF. The dehydrator was running for about TWO days. It’s an old deyhdrator, so maybe a new one would be different, but holy smokes it took forever!
  • If you already have a food dehydrator or know someone who has one, it’s definitely worth drying basil if you have a whole bunch because it’s so easy. However, if you’re only planning to make dried basil with your dehydrator, it’s definitely not worth buying one. At least that’s what we think!

drying basil with a food dehydrator from @janemaynard

Here are my posts on Cosmo this week!

Show and tell! Feel free to share whatever you like!


  1. That’s brilliant! My husband and I were talking about buying a dehydrator to preserve the bounty of fruit we get off our trees every season. Glad to know that it has other uses as well. I always feel bad when my herbs die and I haven’t used them all.

    Today I shared a summery main dish for using leftover chicken. Chicken Pita Sandwiches

    • my mom dried fruit all while I was growing up 🙂 and, yes, dry your herbs, too! it went well – took a long time, but worked really well!

  2. I usually save most of my basil in pesto (and freeze it), but when I dry my basil, I use the microwave. Just 20 seconds!

  3. i really need to dry my herbs. they’re always wasted every year, even though i use them almost everyday.

  4. 4
    Rachel U

    great idea!!! def going to try this!

  5. 5

    Preserving herbs

    I’ve experimented with drying my herbs in the past and have been generally disappointed with the results. They seem to lose most of the flavor that makes those herbs tasty.
    Turns out that this us because most of the aromatic chemicals that make up the flavor profiles are more volatile than water. Thusly when you remove the water in the drying process you are also losing the majority of the aromatic compounds. The exceptions to this are hardier herbs that evolved in more arid climes such as oregano, thyme and rosemary.
    I’ve had much more success preserving herbs like basil by blending them into pastes with a low-flavor oil like canola and then freezing the paste in single usage portions with an ice cube tray.
    Hope that’s useful information, you have a lovely blog.

  6. 6
    Stephanie P.

    My mom dehydrated lemon and orange slices a couple weeks ago and adds them to ice water/tea, really adds flavor like a squeeze of fresh lemon/orange!

    She also uses the microwave for some herbs, really does work quickly. One tip that appears too late for this batch, but we get flavor much longer when keeping the leaves as whole as possible, then crush (rub in your palms) them when you want to use them. This works especially well with sage.

    My mom told me about the tip above two days ago (random), but I believe that info is correct, we’ll probably try freezing in some butter, that way when I’m making pan sauces I can add a couple pats and (hopefully) bring the herb flavor out.

    Hope your vacation continues to be great, I’m curious about Fondue Night!

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